PETALING JAYA: More than 30,000 employees in the country’s hotel sector have lost their jobs in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) said.
In addition, more than 10,000 have been told to take unpaid leave, and more than 6,000 have had their pay cut, MTUC president Abdul Halim Mansor said.
He told Bernama that from March 18 to May 27, MTUC had, through its Covid-19 helpdesk, received 383 complaints regarding pay reduction, 186 complaints of dismissal, 37 cases of forced leave and 54 unpaid leave, and 17 cases in connection with the enforcement of the movement control order.
To ensure the survival of the former hotel employees, Halim said, the government must end the country’s dependence on foreign workers and give priority to Malaysians to fill job.
He said the government should formulate a master plan to ensure sustainability of the hotel industry, including a short-term plan to, among others, promote domestic tourism.
It should also offer discounts on electricity and water bills as well as tax deduction to ease the burden on hotel owners, he said.
Hotel owners, on the other hand, should offer discounts and other benefits to attract customers.
Halim, who is also the GiatMara chairman, urged former hotel workers to register for skills courses at GiatMara or other colleges if they wanted a change in profession, like becoming entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, National Union of Hotel, Bar and Restaurant Workers Peninsular Malaysia secretary-general Rosli Affandi said the government should provide those who were laid off with small business permits to help them start a new life.
“These hotel workers had been in the industry for a long time and may find it difficult to find jobs in other fields,” he told Bernama.
“With a permit, they can operate their own business to earn income to pay off their loans, as well as for their children’s education and, most importantly, start a new life.”
Rosli said about 400 union members out of a total of 8,000 had been affected by the closure of three hotels in Melaka and one in Petaling Jaya.
“We do not know the actual number of those who are affected because many hotel workers are not union workers. There are also many hotels that do not have trade unions,” he said.